Do you love your man to the level of his most quiet needs? The needs that go unspoken. The needs he may not even recognize for himself.
My dad’s side of the family has a thing for writing corny “Roses are red, violets are blue” poems. So when I tell you I’m going to quote to you a line of poetry from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I hope you are truly impressed at how cultured I have become.
I heard this stanza in a song, and I thought it was the most beautifully written marriage advice I’ve ever heard. Let me give you the first half of Browning’s poem, and you can relish your moment of high culture as well.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
Although I have an English degree, you do not have to evaluate or write an essay on this poem. But if I may direct your attention to my favorite part:
I love thee to the level of every day’s most quiet need.
This melts me. Because in the last few years I have been discovering my greatest joy as a wife, in helping my husband with any need he has.
My daily goal has become to find every way possible to make his life easier and more pleasant.
It’s literally what us girls were made for, you know. To help. (Read Genesis 2:15-24, if you’re raising your eyebrows at me.)
Of course, we love our men to the level of their loudest needs. They need food, so we buy groceries. They need clean underwear, so we start a load of laundry. They need, um, attention in the bedroom, so we offer them our bodies.
But oh, his most quiet needs. Do you love your man to the level of his most quiet needs? The needs that go unspoken. The needs he may not even recognize for himself. Here is where it becomes an art to be a wife. Here is where we can love to the “depth and breadth and height” our souls can reach.
Like when I went to Herberger’s yesterday, to see if I could find my man some new shirts on the yellow dot sale. There hung a spiffy Levi’s brand dress shirt. Used to be $57.00 –now on sale for $15.00. So while he was in the shower getting ready for church this morning, I ironed that shirt and chose a complimentary t-shirt to go underneath. Hung them right on the closet doorframe, so he didn’t even have to look for something to wear.
“I like this,” he said.
Ah, joy. He’s not a vain man, but he does like to look decent when he’s preaching to a few hundred people. He never would have asked for a new shirt, though, because he’s a make-do kind of guy.
While he’s working on his sermon today, I’ll go to the grocery store and buy a pack of his favorite bottled soda. When he comes in all tired from preaching tonight, won’t he feel happy when he kicks off his shoes and enjoys a cold ginger soda?
I love thee…by sun and candlelight.
We, The Helpers, can watch carefully, from sun to candlelight, to find creative and thoughtful ways to meet our men’s’ most quiet needs. And in this service, we lose ourselves but find the good life. Trust my credentials when I give you this advice, my friends because I have been happily married for over 25 years. Happily, I tell you.
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Serve his quiet needs
And watch joy come to you.
Eh, culture can only last for so long, I’m guessin’.
With love from Montana,